Exercise & Hidden Disabilities #physiotalk 4th March 2019

Our chat on Monday 4th March will be at our usual time of 8.30pm GMT. Join in with our hosts @CarylAPhysio & @RHintonPT to discuss Exercise and Hidden Disabilities.

As a profession we regularly discuss how important exercise is as a tool for patient and public health and wellbeing, and our valuable part in increasing participation in exercise and physical activity.

As physiotherapists we aim to develop a holistic picture of our patients’ lives. At ARC 2018, there was widespread discussion around a motion that identified the fact that only 1% of CSP membership had declared a disability or long-term health condition (compared to the government’s figure of 16% of working adults).

This, alongside the Love Activity campaign in the South Central team, sparked discussion about how frequently we discuss the impact of hidden disabilities and/or LTC that may impact our patients’ ability to participate in exercise.


Some starting points to think about:

  • Is it knowledge and/or confidence that influences your patient centred conversations?
  • Do we recognise there are limiting factors when discussing exercise? Do we make assumptions?
  • Why do you choose to participate in your chosen form of physical activity/exercise?
  • What may stop you from participating?

We hope this #Physiotalk will provide the opportunity for open discussion, and encourage the sharing of knowledge/experiences, approaches and resources across the profession. Please join and engage with the South Central CSP region at 20:30 (GMT) on Monday 4th March. We look forward to hearing your thoughts

Questions to consider ahead of the chat

  1. What would you consider to be a hidden disability/LTC?
  2. What barriers may these pose in relation to participation in physical activity/exercise
  3. Are there any patient populations that you feel pose particular challenges to you as a clinician?
  4. How equipped do you feel to support those with hidden disabilities within assessments, treatment, and self-management plans?
  5. How do you feel your approach differs compared to those with more visible disabilities?
  6. What resources do you access or would you like to be able to access in order to support people with hidden disabilities?


Pre-chat resources

Rimmer, J.H., 2005. The conspicuous absence of people with disabilities in public fitness and recreation facilities: lack of interest or lack of access?. American Journal of Health Promotion, 19(5), pp.327-329.

Rimmer, J.H. and Rowland, J.L., 2008. Health promotion for people with disabilities: implications for empowering the person and promoting disability-friendly environments. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 2(5), pp.409-420.

Hidden disabilities: Pain beneath the surface

UK Deaf Sports


Missed the chat? Catch up here

Resources shared during the chat

WHO Disability assessment schedule

Cresta fatigue booklet

Aging with HIV and disability: the role of uncertainty.

What is episodic disability?

Putting episodic disability into context: a qualitative study exploring factors that influence disability experienced by adults living with HIV/AIDS

Evaluation of a physiotherapy-led group rehabilitation intervention for adults living with HIV: referrals, adherence and outcomes

Graded exercise therapy for Chronic fatigue

Chat hosts

This chat is being held by Rachael Hinton & Caryl Hunter on behalf of the CSP South Central’s Core Team.

Rachael is a Community Physiotherapist working for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust based in Oxfordshire. She regularly works with those with both visible and hidden disabilities or conditions and is keen to support everyone to participate in physical activity.

Caryl Hunter is a 3rd Yr BSc student at Oxford Brookes, whom interest in hidden disabilities comes from personal experiences of loved ones, experiencing hearing impairment. As a little girl she couldn’t understand why the deaf athletes are unable to compete in the para-sporting events such as the Paralympics without an additional disability, instead hosting their own isolated events such as the Deaflympics.

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